When watching Liverpool these days there is a sense that they have evolved into a far more advanced version of the side that still managed to reach the Europa League final last May and provide some memorable domestic results last season.
Even in games like today where they may have had to eke out a 2-1 victory thanks to a second-half penalty, they tend to be the dominant force throughout the match.
This was particularly the case in the second half today as they piled on the pressure, which eventually broke down Swansea’s brave resistance. Both the stats from this match in isolation and the stats gathered prior to kick-off on Liverpool’s opening six matches demonstrate irrefutable proof that as of right now Jurgen Klopp’s side are right up there with the much more vaunted Manchester City.
Despite being away from home against a side that just gave Man City a stern test, Liverpool bossed proceedings today as evidenced by their 59% possession together with 18 shots to Swansea’s eight, according to PremierLeague.com.
The corner count, meanwhile, also came in decidedly in favour of the Merseysiders, at ten to the home side’s three.
While they didn’t turn as many of these chances into goals as they have done this season there is still every reason for fans to be getting a little bit excited at the prospect that this could be the year to break that domestic league duck.
The below graphic from Sky Sports, which featured in the pre-match build-up, further underlines their credentials to go toe-to-toe with Guardiola’s men as it makes for sensational viewing.
It must be noted that the stats on Liverpool’s defensive record and in particular their record of defending set-pieces is nowhere to be seen as this is definitely an area where they need to improve having conceded yet again from a corner.
While Manchester City may be ahead of them in this regard there are counter-balancing forces which could tilt things in favour of Liverpool over the course of what is a long season. For one, they do not have to juggle European duties in the manner that Man City do while it now seems to be plausible to speculate that Liverpool have more firepower overall.
While no one can reasonably argue that Sergio Aguero is not the best striker in the league, Liverpool have more depth in that department with summer recruit Sadio Mané providing a lot of menace going forward while Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Adam Lallana all seem to have reached new heights under the charismatic German’s guidance.
That is not to mention Daniel Sturridge, who remains a player of exceptional talent despite his well-documented injury troubles, and Divock Origi, who has shown plenty of promise whenever he has been called upon.
With Kevin De Bruyne already dealing with a knock and Aguero not exactly an iron man in the durability stakes, this title race might not quite be the one-horse race that many had predicted in the wake of City’s hot start.
Vincent Whelan, Pundit Arena
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